Here's what you need to know about the HIV subtype AE

Louella Tangpuz, Trainee
PUBLISHED March 13, 2018 11:32 am | UPDATED March 14, 2018 06:52 am
Photo by Monthly Index of Medical Specialities

(Inside Manila) There has been a remarkable advancement in prevention and treatment of HIV over the past years. The Philippines, however, remains an outlier. The country has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 2017 report on global HIV epidemic shows new HIV cases among Filipinos grew from 4,300 in 2010 to 10,500 in 2016.


Department of Health (DOH) data show that as of December 2017, there were 50,725 reported cases of HIV in the country. The agency estimated that by 2022, the total number HIV cases will be 142,400.


This is due to a more aggressive and drug resistant subtype of HIV.


Deustche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster, discussed the HIV AE subtype in an interview with Dr. Edsel Salvana, director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines.


Salvana said the HIV subtype AE is a more aggressive form of HIV. Those infected by it are younger, sicker patients who are more resistant to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. There is also a faster progression to AIDS under the subtype AE.


He emphasized the urgent need for local research into the AE subtype of HIV.


“Specifically, for the Philippines, we need more scientists willing to do research work on HIV. To do this, we need to make access to government research funds more efficient. The current government procedures are tedious and slow which causes further delay in research,” he said.


Salvana also said that amending the existing HIV law is long overdue. Instead, move on to the “opt-out” approach which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. The “opt-out” approach is where patients are informed that an HIV test will be conducted unless they decline to be tested.  The said approach is meant to help identify persons living with HIV who may otherwise not volunteer or subject themselves to testing because they do not think they are at risk of HIV infection.

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